Skip to comments.ISILís advance puts Saudi Arabia between Iraq and a hard place
Posted on 06/18/2014 10:25:40 AM PDT by Uncle Miltie
The battle between Iraqs government and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which threatens to plunge Iraq back into the chaos of sectarian civil war, puts Saudi Arabia in an increasingly awkward position.
The Saudis have long been at loggerheads with the Iran-backed Shia-dominated government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, seeing Iraq as a key theater of its battle for influence with Tehran that also plays out in Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere in the region. But while ISIL poses the deadliest challenge yet to Maliki, its rapid emergence as a key regional player threatens Saudi interests as well as those of Iran. Still, the military effort to reverse ISILs rapid gains over the past week with possible U.S. and Iranian assistance is likely, at least in the short term, to strengthen the hand of Riyadhs adversaries in Iraq.
The Saudis took several days to respond to last weeks news that Irans Revolutionary Guard Corps was involved in the Iraqi fight against ISIL, and that some form of alliance of convenience between the U.S. and Iran was being mooted to stabilize security in Iraq.
When Riyadh did speak out on the crisis on Monday, it blamed events on Malikis failure to reconcile with Iraqs Sunnis, and it also issued a veiled threat to Iran.
A Saudi government statement said that the events of the past week could not have taken place if it was not for the sectarian and exclusionary policies implemented in Iraq over the past years that threatened its stability and sovereignty.
Riyadh said it rejected foreign interference in [Iraqs] internal affairs, and called for a state that would realize the participation of all components of the Iraqi people in determining the future.
Maliki has been widely accused of governing on a sectarian basis, using the demographic advantage of the Shia to prevail in elections but using the instruments of power to exclude and alienate the Sunni minority, many of whom had enjoyed comparative advantages under the regime of Saddam Hussein.
Ideally, what Riyadh would want is some sort of political accommodation where Sunni interests are better represented, said Toby C. Jones, a professor of Middle East studies at Rutgers University in New Jersey. He said Riyadh wants Iraq beholden to interests that the Saudis could support.
But the rapid gains of ISIL in the past week present Riyadh with a policy dilemma.
[The Saudis] blame Maliki for inviting this crisis by alienating Sunnis and for failing spectacularly when faced with the ISIL blitz. But their fear and distrust of ISIL is real. This is a group that would storm Riyadh and Mecca if it could, said Matthew M. Reed, vice president at Foreign Reports, a Middle Eastfocused consulting firm in Washington, D.C.
Like the United States, then, Saudi Arabia finds itself caught in a security conundrum with no clear endgame although with far closer proximity to the consequences of the ISIL surge.
The Saudis are caught, said F. Gregory Gause III, a professor of Middle East studies at the University of Vermont. They dont like Iran or Maliki but they dont like [ISIL] either. I think theyre risk-averse and divided about what they want to do.
Riyadh is hardly unique in demanding greater Sunni inclusion in the Shia-dominated Maliki political order. The same view has been constantly reiterated by President Barack Obama and other U.S. officials, and endorsed by many analysts who view Sunni alienation from the new political order in Iraq as increasingly undermining the security of the Iraqi state.
The question of Sunni Arab participation in Iraqs political order that has plagued the transition [from Saddam Hussein] since its inception is as acute and explosive as ever, warned the International Crisis Group in a report published in August 2013, months before ISILs meteoric rise on the Iraqi battlefield.
Some experts believe that the Saudis embrace of Sunni armed groups fighting the Iran-backed regime of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria has inadvertently fueled the crisis in Iraq ISIL operates on both sides of the Syria-Iraq border, and is beyond the orders or influence of any government. (Advocates of greater backing for Syrias rebels counter that insufficient support to rival groups there allowed ISIL to prosper.)
On Tuesday, the Iraqi government blasted the Saudis, accusing them of supporting ISIL.
"We hold [Saudi Arabia] responsible for supporting these groups financially and morally, and for the outcome of that which includes crimes that may qualify as genocide: the spilling of Iraqi blood, the destruction of Iraqi state institutions and historic and religious sites," a government statement read.
But thats a vast overstatement of Saudi influence, said Reed at Foreign Reports: Assads durability up to now only underscores how limited Saudi influence is, he said. Saudi influence in Iraq is modest also, contrary to what Maliki claims.
While the Saudi authorities officially reject ISIL, criminalizing its citizens who join such groups abroad and targeting domestic supporters, ISILs funding stream is believed by many to reach into the wealthy elites of the kingdom and of some of its Gulf neighors, and there appear to have been divisions in Riyadh over the extent of the risk to Saudi interests posed by backing radical groups fighting Assad.
Writing in an op-ed for The New York Times, Steven Simon, a former member of Obamas national security council, said states such as Saudi Arabia that tacitly support the rebels as payback against Iran for its perceived takeover of Iraq will do nothing to support the rebels military campaign, for fear of creating an uncontrollable situation, even if their nationals privately fund the rebel army.
The resulting carnage seems more likely to favor Iran, whose influence in Baghdad is much stronger, and on whom Maliki will be even more dependent in the face of ISILs challenge. That leaves Riyadh without many options.
One of the interesting things is how little involved they are. They have a hard time finding local clients that arent really problematic, Gause said regarding Riyadh's possible choices.
But Saudi concern over some of Washingtons recent moves to thaw relations with Tehran including continuing efforts to reach a final agreement over Irans nuclear program is likely to be confined to private displeasure, and tempered by the reality that Saudi Arabia still leans heavily on U.S. power in the region.
Theyre dependent on the U.S. for all sorts of reasons, said Rutgers Jones. If they flip the switch, and go back and pursue a more antagonistic line [with Iran], thats not going to go down well in the U.S.
This is a balance-of-power game, Jones continued. They want to win the chessboard. Given the options available in Iraqs current situation, that will be a long strategic game.
Meanwhile, although Gause said it was not a fantasy that a regional thaw between Riyadh and Tehran might emerge from the flames of Iraqs current violence, he thought the opposite scenario was more likely. I see everyone running to their corners, he said.
This video shows MANY terrorists with Saudi passports.
The poor dears. Having created international terrorism out of whole cloth (see Al Qaeda), they don't like it when they cannot control their Frankenstein.
Your enemy’s enemy is not ALWAYS your friend!
The real problem is that they are stuck on Islam. That is “God with rabies.”
Camels stopping by to drop a load.
...the danger of a major supply cutoff cannot be ruled out. Iraqs 3.3 million barrels per day exceeds what Saudi Arabia holds in spare capacity which stood at 1.96 million barrels per day in the first quarter.
It is unlikely that Iraq will lose all of its production, particularly since two-thirds of its capacity is located south of the current turmoil, but should a significant volume be cut off from global markets, Saudi Arabias ability to make up for it is questionable.
The ISIL would be subject to A10s attacking their columns.
Is this group known as ISIS, ISIL, or both?
ISIS is Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
ISIS is also Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham. Another poster told me that al-Sham is the ancient reference to Damascus.
Thank you for the good response.
Jordan has been a fairly decent nation in some respects. I have a hard time seeing it support a group intent on overthrowing the leadership in Iraq.
Syria I can buy into, because we know of the terrorist element there. Lebanon’s government is now suspect, at least I believe it is.
Most of this sound reasoned but the Jordanian quotient.
Don’t let a crisis go to waste....
We are about to see 7 dollars a gallon gas.
Wonder why Obama is not allowing Keystone to go through?
Oh I wish ISIS would attack Saudi Arabia and leave the Syrians and Iraqis alone.
Heavens, I hope not. $7.00 a gallon would royally screw folks who drive a distance to work. Vacations? Forget about it.
These guys are delusional. The Saudi’s are helping fund ISIS.
Your wish is coming, somewhat. Iran will move in. Faced with two unacceptable choices to their north, Saudi Arabia will either pay someone to come bail them out or finally use that army they have been building. The Kurds will try to hold onto their area, but the Turks and Iran cannot allow that. It is the perfect storm of hate.
ISIS doesn’t need funding; they robbed Iraqi banks and it is estimated they have 500 million+ at this point (some estimates have them pegged at 2 Billion). They don’t need the Saudi’s, except for their heads.
They needed funding before and the Saudis’s have been backing them. But hey don’t get me wrong I have no love for the House of Saud. They feed the alligator hoping it will eat them last.
Actually, you are speaking of exSaudis. They left the Kingdom.
Saudis have been backing them, yes. The Saudis who wish the overthrow of the House of Saud for being to Western.
three-card monte, by design...
at this point, the 'info' we are getting from the whole of the mid east is 'fast & furious' to suck in the low info, as well as the well read citizenry, to enable the PTB to do as they please...
fortunately for us, that since the 60s at least, while weve been enjoying our bread & circuses and allowing all the muzz countries to gain strength and wealth on our petro-dime, each of the muzz sects are still untrusting of the others as apostates, thinking their ultimate allies to be a bigger enemy than the jews or other 'Christian' infidels...
while they jockey for position to, we shouldve been standing back and allowing them to kill each other, as that is all they know or care about...
our muzz government and the obambam are waist deep in this obfuscation and enabling, and with our tech/weapons will ultimately be the ringleader in assembling a 'big enuff' mass of varying muzzies to quit fighting amongst themselves, at least for a minute, and eradicate the 'scum' from Israel...then they can resume slaughtering each other in the name of mo-ham-head [piss and bacon be upon it]...
At this point, it isn’t that Lebanon and Jordan are active supports of ISIL. It is the intent of ISIL to eventually subjugate Lebanon and Jordan into the coming Caliphate.
The Satanic/Democratic intent is to destroy Israel. The plan is coming together. Lord God hear our prayers for Israel and for those of us who support her.
Thanks for the comments.
Ah, good point.
Its our job as world leader to *save* them no matter what the cost or difficulties..
Meaning invading, occupying, rebuilding setting up voting so they can vote in the side that hates us the most, then abandon after ~ decade of that anyway.
Remember the Purple thumbs, Purple middle fingers would have been more appropriate.
Just ask Bush, Cheney, Rummy, McCain, Grahamnesty and Peter King.
Lets trade US blood and $$$ for ruins and anarchy again, yea!
SAVE THE MUZZIES FROM THEMSELVEs!
“SAVE THE MUZZIES FROM THEMSELVEs!”
Some things ain’t worth saving. Not now, not ever.
My position on the Middle East: bring back the Ottoman Empire!
That’s an improvement over what’s in place now.
I know this is argumentitive, but I think it’s a concept we need to deal with here.
We talk of allowing the Islamic people take each other out. It’s a concept that works in limited situations like Iran vs Iraq. We helped just enough to help that come to a draw, sapping both nations.
Here were talking about a broader scope. We’re talking about one group ISIS, ISIL, or the Muslem Brotherhood capturing large areas of the Middle-East, then turning those areas into a greater Islamic Republic.
Should we stand by and watch that happen?
Let’s narrow the scope back to just the greater Iraq situation.
Let’s say Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria become one larger player. If that does happen, we’re talking about a rather large region controlled by a very radical group.
Is that something that would be wise to let happen?
Over the follow twenty year, a whole new generation of extremely radical anti-U.S. people would emerge.
Do we just sit back and allow this to take place?
Do we wait until another 09/11 or worse takes place to react?
Watching some folks here, it’s unclear if they think we should react even then. Out come the anti-nation building brigades, the allow Muslims to take each other out brigade, and we’re completely neutered as a nation.
What is the proper role of the United States in these situations? Stay at home and hope?
It seem to me engagement is an option. I’m not convinced it’s the worst one when we’re talking about global players who will come after us, and we damn well know it.
Do we get involved there, or do we simple allow them to hit us on the nose over and over and over and over...
“I know this is argumentitive, but I think its a concept we need to deal with here.”
Not argumentative to me anyway. Here’s my brutally frank opinion on this:
The last time this country (when it was the country most of us knew) was at war with a suicidal, fanatical entity (Japan), we defeated them by starting a campaign of literally blowing them off the face of the earth. Erased. Gone. The Japs have been good little bitches since then.
Same principle applies here, only with better weapontry: Muslims are the enemy, a suicidal and fanatical enemy. Kill them all. We have the technology, use it. Deport the ones that are here, en masse, and exterminate them in their sh*tholes where they crawled out from.
This country should never send another person to die “over there”; send the bombers in and, like Hiroshima and Nagasaki, blow them off the face of the earth. Then let’s see how “bad” they are.
They are sub-animals; they only understand fear and death. Give it to them, everyone else will be better off.
I understand your logic. I still don’t think we can do that sort of things in this day and age.
There are many Islamic people who go to work each day, or at least busy themselves with providing for their family and contributing to the immediate society that they live in. I don’t buy into the theory that all Islamic people are evil. There are parts of Islam I detest. I’m not writing the rules for how those folks live their lives. I view it as more of a Star Trek leave their civilization alone as long as they leave us alone situation. And most of them leave us alone. It’s the pricks that ruin it for all of us.
Many Iraqis want to live in peace, screw the bloody holy war crap. They help us when we come in to help them. We do have problems there, but some of them actually help us.
They’re not all running around all over the planet trying to take out Westerners, U.S. Citizens, Jews, or Israelis.
Do we nuke them or bombard them off the planet just to get to the bad guys?
In the instance of Japan, there was a clearly defined situation where tens of thousands of U.S. troops were at stake, if we didn’t end the war without a full scale invasion.
Here’s another down-side to us using nukes again. If we do it, other nations get a green light. Today if another nation uses them, they are an instant pariah. If we’ve already done it, not so much. They get a green light of sorts.
I think there is an argument to be made to simply mow these pricks down as they move their convoy and forces around Iraqi territory. Just send in some munitions and eradicate massive numbers of them.
Other than that, attack training camps. Just eradicate these people from the face of the planet.
If it’s a terrorist camp, just drop a daisy cutter on it and be done with it.
Execute the guys you pick up off the field of battle. Quit playing by humane rules. Absolutely never hand back generals of these operations. Disappear them. Send back their head to their operations unit.
We’ve played by idiotic rules. That’s why they’re emboldened. They don’t think we’ll come back in.
I’d send the message to 50 different targets in one morning to make it clear that’s not the case. 25,000 fewer terrorists... all in all a very good start to a new ugly future for those who wish to their lives terrorizing others.
Try focusing on protecting Americans and let Allah sort out their civil war as Palin once wisely said. Too much American blood already spilled in the hopeless task of straightening Iraq out.
Megyn babe had great show tonight.
First she had on the Cheney's together, and she did her job,
Instead of just letting them read their points she read a memo with a bunch of claims/promiDes Cheney made on Iraq :”Will welcome us as liberators”, “WMDs” , ‘We turned the tide”(2005)
They clearly were surprised to be confronted with his own words, as Rush, Levin and Hannity never brought them up in all the kiss up interviews that they gave them.
Then Glenn Beck comes on and she reads a couple of predictions that he made that came true in the Mid East.
So she asked him if we should go back into Iraq now and Glenn Beck replies :”No that would be a big mistake. We cant fix them. I will admit I was wrong in 2003 thinking that invading Iraq was the right thing to do and that we could make the place better. That is impossible. We need to focus on fixing America now. This place is a mess”
The premise of your question is very flawed.
Capture from who?
The Iranian backed Shiites?(those we are supposed to save?)
They are are American hating devils.
The side we were on has their soldiers fleeing like rats in civilian clothes handing over their US weapons to those groups you cite.
I say not one MORE drop of American blood for those cowards,
Not a chance of that happening for multiple reasons.
In fact GWB/Mccain style invasions are off the table too now, even if we were to really need one.
Its call the boy crying wolf, but this boy (Cheney) cried ‘Mushroom clouds over US cities” as the wolf.
You know, there are times when some things you don’t want to do, are some things you must do.
There will be pure hell to pay as a result of ISIS taking over Iraq.
This isn’t about their blood. Once consolidation occurs, do you honestly think they sit back and say to themselves, “Ahhhh, now we’ve achieved our goals, we can sit back and relax.”
No, once they consolidate they will be looking outward to cause mahem globally.
This is about our blood on U. S. soil.
Anything less than my proposal leaves the sub-animals an opening to cause mayhem.
They are a disease that needs to be eradicated, period.
That’s why I wrote in my first post “The America that we knew” or thereabouts. Back then even a RAT like Truman knew what needed to be done against a fanatical foe and did it.
Intestinal fortitude is rapidly disappearing in this country and with it goes the country, or at least what I’d call “America”. Whatever’s left isn’t going to be worth a bucket of piss.
Naming an Empire after a footstool...
No wonder it fell...
(yeah... I know... but it’s morning...)
“...send the bombers in and...”
OMG... The RETURN of George S. Patton and Curtis LeMay!!!
You GO, brother!!! Haha!!!
“...Many Iraqis want to live in peace, screw the bloody holy war crap. They help us when we come in to help them. ...”
True that. The terrorist elements read their Mao and do the whole “fish hiding in a sea of fish” thing. Getting the people there to out the bad guys is the key.
The PROBLEM is, once they out them, and we leave, they’re still there, and will have to be dealt with. The key is training folks to be able to - and have the WILL power to - defend themselves from these animals.
“...Execute the guys you pick up off the field of battle. Quit playing by humane rules....”
Not happening either. No POTUS is going to order the Nazi method of handling captured POWS , and they wont be nuking them either.
So since we have to live in the real world lets quit throwing our troops into these no-win situations.
Khent says: “Take off your pants, now.”
You too. Take off your pants.
If you catch a guy planting IEDs, sniping at our guys, actively engaged in combat against our people, he should not be treated to a taxpayer-funded vacation at Club Gitmo.
Don’t bother to take him prisoner. It isn’t “Nazi”, it’s common sense. How did our people deal with die-hard Japanese on Peleliu, Saipan, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa? They killed them. With machine guns, flame throwers, grenades, and bayonets.
Kuribayashi had about 22,000 Japanese troops on Iwo; not many of them surrendered. Almost ALL of them (19,000) died at their guns. The ones that surrendered were, for the most part Korean conscripts or so badly shattered from the bombing that they were mental cases.
I agree with you on the “throwing troops into no-win situations”. But in the real world, if we HAVE to go in somewhere, we go in to win it and end it.
I NEVER want to see another airliner crashing into an American building, or a suicide bomber detonating on an American street.
Khent is not in a position to be giving orders to anyone...
Remember... the Broadway Show Tunes and Liza Minelli collection is on the line...
For some reason US POTUSs try to avoid going down in history with Hitler, Stalin and Po-Pot.
Call them RINOs if you like for that, its just reality.
It sounded like you were saying that our US soldiers should have executed the ones who surrendered w (hands up no weapons), versus killing those who fight to the end.
That would be very short sighted.
“...Call them RINOs if you like for that, its just reality...”
I wouldn’t call them RINOs. But I can’t see equating that with mass murderers of innocent civilians like Hitler, Stalin and Pol-Pot.
When you return people to the battlefield - especially high-rank commanders like O just did - there should be no surprise that they will re-commence offensive action against us.
But they can’t do that if they’re dead.